Our history

A story of science, innovation, and passion more than 150 years in the making

DSM's history


1869 was a vintage year for innovation. It saw Dutch entrepreneur Jacques van Marken step forward to pioneer the world’s first commercial production of baker’s yeast via his new company, Gist- en Spiritusfabriek (meaning “yeast and spirits factory” – catchy, right?). Fast-forward to 1998, when Royal DSM – whose own origins began as the Dutch state mining company in 1902 – acquired Gist- en Spiritusfabriek to catalyze its transformation from bulk chemicals manufacturing to specialty food ingredient production. With the addition of yeast – and no shortage of spirit – the company continued to grow and grow, to become a global, purpose-led leader in nutrition, health, and well-being. 

Firmenich's history


It made perfect scents right from the start. In 1895, visionary chemist Philippe Chuit and businessman Martin Naef set up a makeshift laboratory in a garage. From these humble beginnings, they were soon creating ground-breaking scent molecules, like spicy Dianthine® and floral Iralia® – both of which are still going strong today. They were soon joined by Frédéric Firmenich, a pioneering entrepreneur. Bottling this trailblazing attitude, the team went on to create Firmenich, the world’s largest privately owned fragrance and taste company.


dsm-firmenich brings together leading creativity and cutting-edge science and innovation. Together, we will be better able to serve the needs of customers and deliver compelling growth and returns.

Thomas Leysen 

Chair of the Supervisory Board, dsm-firmenich
The combination of DSM and Firmenich is transformational, and brings together two culturally aligned and iconic businesses, each with more than 125 years’ heritage in innovation. Our shared purpose, common values, and highly complementary capabilities give me confidence that we can accelerate our growth further through innovation and new creations.
Patrick Firmenich 
Deputy Chair, dsm-firmenich

Explore more

  • Our company

    Discover how we bring progress to life through purpose-led science, sustainable solutions, building on our 150-year heritage, and leading by example.

  • Our businesses

    Four complementary businesses, all powered by purpose, people, and pioneering science. A winning formula across nutrition, health, and beauty.

  • Sustainability

    As a company formed of two sustainability leaders, we’re determined to keep growing our positive impact – for the good of people, climate, and nature.